Tuesday, November 20, 2007

tubies and craftsmanship

I'd pretty much sworn off tubies since I went through two of them in the span of a month last year. Too damned much money to blow. That was on my road bike, but still. When determining what setup I was going to do for my cross bike this year, I decided to just keep running the Ksyrium clinchers like I have for the past few years. Damned reliable wheel that need no maintenance, zero expense so I could spend a little more and get a good clincher setup and STILL be money ahead.
That all changes for next year. At the Lafayette cross race I was duking it out for 7th place when I started to feel a little squishy in corners. Turns out I had a slow leak and I was in the semi-fortunate position to be about 60 seconds away from the wheel pit. I rolled in to the pit, spotted my buddy's spare wheelset, grabbed the rear and threw it on my bike. Maybe it was lower pressure (which is a benefit to riding tubies!), but that tired just hooked up. It felt way better at a lower pressure than my clincher did at that same pressure, and I wasn't bottoming out, either. So now I'm sold.
The other benefit to running tubies is that I'll be building these wheels, which has become somewhat of a joy for me. Granted it seems like I never have enough time to devote to build a wheel and I'm still pretty freaking slow at it, but it's pretty fun and I always love being able to say "yeah, I built that." Craftsmanship is still very much appreciated by me. The devil is in the details, as they say.

This segways nicely into my next thought.

The devil is in the details, for sure. Kinda like passing the brake cable through the integrated seat post on the Speedvagen from Vanilla bicycles (speedvagen.com or vanillabicycles.com):

I'm by no means trying to take credit, but I've always wondered why TT bikes don't do that, even to the point of drilling the post through the seat tube. Seriously, a 3mm hole is not going to compromise a bike. If nothing less, it just cleans up the look so much.
This goes double for the front brake cable routing... look really closely:

Yeah, I like craftsmanship. That's all for now.

the ATM

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cyclocross, Euro style

I suppose it didn't really rain because I washed my car this am, but that's about my luck. No matter, it was pretty dirty and needed cleaned regardless. Enjoying a thick cup of coffee and washing my car was a great way to start of my Sunday. It would have been better if I could listen to the Hangover Cafe' but suck Clear Channel axed it some time ago.
Anyway, back to the rain. On the way up to Indy for the race it rained cats and dogs. Excellent prep weather for a good 'cross race. AT the start some d-bag was late to the line and held everybody up while he took off his tights. Then of course said d-bag drilled my bars at the start and shot me into the guy next to me. Awesome. I stayed on the bike and sprinted like mad and got into about 10th or so. Pretty much the entire course was a soupy mess so it was slow going. I ended up 9th, not quite able to close on the guy in front of me.
Overall a good day, results are ticking up a few at time. Maybe by the time Nats comes around and more CX-appropriate weather starts to show (where I accel) I'll have a podium or a victory salute.
Oh, and I broke the axle on my Ksyrium at some point in the last month. That's because I make mad power.

-I'm out

Saturday, November 10, 2007

a little late, but no biggie

This is a video of a buddy of mine having issues through the sand pit at the USGP race #1 a few weeks back:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Simple words

I've operated under a fairly simple motto over the last few years: If I'm not on my bike, I should be.

that's about it

Monday, November 5, 2007

Brakes only slow you down...

Sage words learned in my cycling infancy straight from my bro. Somewhat obvious, but ever so true. This little nugget came back to bite me big time this past weekend.
I'll start off with the, uh, start. I got a bad grid spot - way back in the 4th row, but as the gun went off, everyone seemed to shoot straight to the middle of the course. This allowed a huge path for me to get into the top 10 or so, which was nice. Heading into the sandpit on the first lap I decided to stay to the right. Apparently not far enough to the right, tho, since somebody was able to clip my bar and send me straight into the sand, head first. This wasn't really a big deal aside from the time lost in the spill. So I quickly jumped up and headed on my way. After 40 or so minutes, I was really ready to explode. I did my typical 'want to quit the race' thing about 15 minutes into the race, but the feeling came back, which never happens. I simply could not put any power to the ground. About 5 minutes later, I was in such a bad way that I had justified not ever racing 'cross again. This is fresh off the heels of my getting a super sick bike:

I could not figure out why the leaders took over a 3/4 of a lap on me IN ONE LAP! I struggled around the last section and wanted to ride the sand pit one last time so I flat out sprinted for about 200 meters then pedaled thru the pits, throwing in the towel just after.
It all came together when I was tearing the bike down to put it into my car... turns out during the sand pit incident, my rear brake spring had popped loose which meant only the left side of the rear brake had a spring. This, of course, means the brakes were no longer balanced and the right shoe was dragging on the rim. That means I was racing for about 50 minutes with my brake dragging. AHA!

So at least I don't have to quit racing 'cross, which would suck.